Keys to the Game – Oklahoma State

Evan Vieth, General Sports Reporter

Quinn Ewers and the Texas Longhorns are set to face their toughest Big 12 matchup yet against the No. 11 Oklahoma State Cowboys. The matchup features two of the best quarterbacks in the Big 12, with Ewers facing off against Spencer Sanders, who is second in yards and touchdowns in the Big 12. 

Let Ewers Take Over

Last week’s scare against Iowa State may have been surprising to some, but Iowa State has the best defense in the Big 12. While Ewers struggles against big-time defensive playmakers, Oklahoma State doesn’t have any on the defensive side of the ball. Oklahoma State has the worst pass defense in the Big 12 and one of the worst in the country, giving up over 300 yards a game. Ewers needs to exploit that defense and find players like Xavier Worthy, Jordan Whittington and Ja’Tavion Sanders for big gains across the middle of the field.


Limit the Pressure

Limiting pressures on the quarterback is easier said than done, but there are few teams that get to the quarterback as well as Oklahoma State. The Cowboys rank top 20 in the nation in sacks, which is the best in the Big 12. They’re also averaging nearly three per game. Oklahoma State also has four separate players with over three sacks on the season, while Barryn Sorrell is the only Longhorn with more than three. Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy has built one of the best pass-rushing teams in the nation. For a game that will likely ask Ewers to throw the ball more than 35 times, it’s of the utmost importance that a young offensive line keeps Ewers safe.


Stop the Third Down Conversions

Texas’ glaring issue against Iowa State came on the defensive side of the ball, where the Cyclones were able to complete nine out of their 15 third downs. For comparison, Texas only gave up three out of 15 third down conversions against Oklahoma. After Texas cornerback Ryan Watts went down with an injury, Iowa State torched the Longhorns on third downs and nearly came back in the fourth quarter. A full strength Longhorn team needs to stop the veteran Oklahoma State offense on third down, whether that means sending more pressure or playing tighter coverage against their balanced wide receiver core, which features four receivers with over 250 yards on the season.